Turkish FM, US counterpart discuss Syria by phone

Turkish FM, US counterpart discuss Syria by phone

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) chats with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu after posing for a family picture during a foreign minister meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Dec. 4, 2018. (Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo had a phone conversation on Jan. 21 in which they discussed the current situation in Syria, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo discussed bilateral relations and Washington's recent decision to withdraw troops from Syria, the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to media, said.

The U.S. State Department, for its part, said the secretary of state reiterated Washington's commitment to addressing Turkish security concerns along the Turkey-Syria border.

Pompeo also emphasized the "importance that the United State places on the protection of forces that worked with the United States and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS," Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement, using another name for Daesh, or ISIL.

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"They discussed ongoing U.S.-Turkish engagement as part of the deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria," Palladino added.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly announced plans to withdraw American forces from the war-weary country.

Trump made the decision during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination vis-à-vis Syria.

In a phone call last week, Erdoğan and Trump discussed the idea of establishing a terror-free safe zone in northern Syria near the Turkish border.

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